World's fastest certified civilian jet sets new around-the-world speed record
Even before it received type certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in September 2012, the Gulfstream G650 was racking up the records, thanks in large part to its Mach 0.925 top speed. The latest record it has claimed is for the fastest westbound, around-the-world flight for a non-supersonic aircraft, which the G650 completed in 41 hours and seven minutes.
The 20,310-nautical mile (37,614 km) circumnavigation of the globe began in San Diego on July 1, from where it headed off over the Pacific Ocean before landing in Guam 10 hours and 10 minutes later. The second leg from Guam to Dubai took 10 hours, and the third from Dubai to Cape Verde took another eight hours and 52 minutes. The final leg that returned the jet to San Diego took 10 hours and 10 minutes. The three refueling stops added a total of around 1.5 hours to the journey.
The crew duties were shared by five pilots over the four legs of the journey, which were flown at the aircraft's standard high-speed cruise setting of Mach 0.90. The five pilots, Tom Horne, Bud Ball, John McGrath, Ross Oetjen and Eric Parker, were on board for the duration of the trip, on which the business jet averaged 915 km/h (565.5 mph) and also claimed 22 city-pair speed records.
The around-the-world record in the C-1.I aircraft class was officially certified by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) in September. It and the new 22 city-pair records brings the total number of records currently held by the G650 to 38.
Although the G650 can currently lay claim to being the fastest certified civilian aircraft with its Mach 0.925 maximum operating speed, it is set to hand that title to the new Cessna Citation X. That aircraft, which Cessna expects to gain FAA certification later this year ahead of the first deliveries beginning early in 2014, boasts a top speed of Mach 0.935.